August 22, 2003
More to the story on Douglas, Ga.
To the editor:
A good newspaper story can tell the facts but sometimes stops before the whole story is told. The Aug. 10, edition of my hometown paper, The Meridian Star, ran a well-written Associated Press article about Douglas, Ga., and the affect recent plant closures and downsizings have had on the community. It told of people who are left without jobs as their employer Tecumseh Products moves its manufacturing to Brazil. This is a tragic time for these and other families.
But there is another chapter to this story. Douglas is a very special community. Its leadership recognized long ago that this area was going to be hit with layoffs and closures. Together they have taken steps to recruit new industries, encourage new business startups and strengthen companies now in Douglas.
Before closures were announced, this community committed to the construction of its third 100,000 square foot industrial building. This beautiful, majestic block building is now ready for a tenant.
The leadership recognized more than a year ago the need for a more aggressive economic development program and created the Economic
Development Council. Working closely with the Chamber of Commerce and the Industrial Authority, a new team has been created to aggressive work on all aspects of economic development. This did not divide the community; it has brought together organizations, agencies and many volunteers who
want to see this effort succeed and are actively involved.
For the past three years community leaders and government leaders have met and worked on strategic planning for the community. Among the issues that have surfaced has been the community's transportation needs. Douglas is home to several distribution centers including a large Wal-Mart center that handles areas of Georgia and Florida, as well as Puerto Rico. The community is a growing retail, education and medical center for southeast Georgia. For a community located more than 30 miles from an interstate, developing our transportation network is vital to our continued growth.
Across the state, Douglas has a reputation of a community that is aggressive, professional and knows how to close a deal. The message that was not included in the article is that the leaders have not waited to react. They are not waiting for someone to come bail them out. They have been very proactive and while some of our citizens are experiencing a hard time, the community is behind them and has been working hard already to provide more jobs.
The end result will be more jobs in this community. We are ready when the economy turns around.
Thank you for this opportunity to share this additional information on Douglas, Georgia.
Frank Thompson, CED
Douglas-Coffee County Industrial Authority
A lifetime impression
To the editor:
I would like to commend the Crunch Team from MYSO for publicly praying before their games at the National State Games of America. You may not have placed there but to me you are winners just the same. The results of recent games will be remembered for a short time but the impression you made will last a lifetime.